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Takeaways, markets, stalls and alfresco dining: relaxed planning conditions extended

Restaurants, pubs and cafes will get automatic freedoms to provide takeaway services for another year. Alfresco dining remains under review, making it easier and less expensive to get an outdoor seating licence

Juliana O'Rourke
19 November 2020
Al fresco licenses will remain free of charge for restaurants, cafes and bars in Chester city centre for the next 12 months
Al fresco licenses will remain free of charge for restaurants, cafes and bars in Chester city centre for the next 12 months

 

The government has announced extensions to a series of temporary planning relaxations intended to support businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, including allowing restaurants, pubs and cafes to provide takeaway services without needing planning permission.

Restaurants, pubs and cafes will get automatic freedoms to provide takeaway services for another year, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced.

The government also helped businesses offer more alfresco dining by making it easier and less expensive to get an outdoor seating licence and is similarly keeping this under review. 

Whilst this is good news for business, it also creates new opportunities for boosting streetlife and street vitality – and offers challenges for parking and pick up / drop-off activity.

This follows Robert Jenrick relaxing rules in March so businesses could offer a takeaway service during the pandemic, without having to go through a planning application process. This was due to end on 23 March 2021 but will now be extended by another year. The government will also consider whether to make these reforms permanent.

Whilst pubs and restaurants are currently restricted from selling alcohol on their premises to take away (but can still provide delivery or click and collect) due to the national covid restrictions in England, the law before March would have restricted pubs and restaurants from choosing to only offer food takeaway services.

The freedoms introduced in March and extended today mean pubs and restaurants can focus on selling food takeaways if they choose to, while being able to return to operating as a pub or restaurant from 2 December.

In July, the government also made it easier for businesses and communities to host markets and stalls. Mr Jenrick has also extended this option for the whole of next year, meaning that markets can sell takeaways from stalls. However, the stalls must not have seating areas. Again, the government will consider whether to make these reforms permanent.

 
 
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